GCU Speech and Debate Team Celebrates Impressive Victory

The GCU speech and debate team celebrated its first overall tournament victory at the Robert Barbara Invitational #1 at California State University, Northridge. The team finished first place among four-year universities in individual events in speech. Out of the 11 schools, GCU beat two of the top-ranked schools in the nation—Arizona State University and University of California, Berkeley.

To provide context, ASU finished last year ranked in the top 10 in the nation. UC Berkeley has five of the top 10-ranked competitors in Northern California in their respective speech events. Despite those stats, the Lopes came out victoriously.

Team director Barry Regan, also a College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) communications instructor, proudly believes this achievement ranks as the team’s most impressive team victory in the regular season in the three-year history of the team. “Beating both of these programs is truly a landmark moment for our team,” he said.

ASU and UC Berkeley also had larger entries than GCU, which illustrates the depth of the team’s young talent. Seventy percent of GCU’s sweepstakes points were accumulated by freshmen—a rarity for a four-year school to accomplish.

The winning team was led by the following key performers: freshmen Chrycia LeGendre, Keliann Nash, Thomas Gleason and TaylorRae Humbert, juniors Jessica Bradley and Brian White, and the top varsity debate team of Thomas Rotering and Zachary Kuykendall.

Sherman Elliot, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, shares how this enormously satisfying victory is truly exciting.

Also as a result of the first place showing, the bi-weekly parliamentary debate team rankings ranked GCU in the top 20 in the nation out of 138 schools. GCU moved from 31st place to 16th place—ranking ahead of teams that have consistently been in the top 10 in the nation for the past few years.

This is just the beginning as the team keeps moving ahead, especially under the leadership of speech and debate coach Barry Regan and the impact of new assistant coach Michael Dvorak.

About the GCU Speech and Debate Team

The speech and debate team competes in three different speech events, including impromptu, persuasive information and interpretation of literature. The two different types of debate include prepared debate, which is more parliamentary and heavily researched with topics stemming from current events. Limited preparation focuses on more real-world application and values-based debating. Competing may involve speaking without memorization or preparation, presenting a practiced speech related to the audience and debating practiced discussions of ideas.

Benefits of being a speech and debate team member include:

  • Travel opportunities and experiencing new locations
  • Competing in tournaments at different universities across the nation
  • Meeting and interacting with other students and coaches
  • Pi Kappa Delta (PKD), the national honor society for collegiate speech and debate
  • Experienced and expert coaching staff who are adjunct professors
  • $2,000 scholarships for each student who makes the team

Making (and competing on) the team serves as a great launching pad for graduate degrees and careers, especially since tryouts are competitive, creating a strong team. In its third year, the team is also two-time defending Christian national champions in the small-school division, and GCU finished 15th overall in the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament.

Stay tuned for more impressive wins from the speech and debate team. GCU is not only proud of the immense talent of the speech and debate team, but how the team nationally represents the university, providing evidence of GCU’s outstanding and credible academics.


Parents Corner: What You Need to Know About FAFSA

If you’re like many families with a high school graduate exploring their college options, the high price tag of college can be stressful and discouraging. Help your child pursue financial aid, starting with FAFSA. Filing FAFSA can help mitigate the overwhelming costs of college tuition and fees—and subsequently reduce the burden of steep student loan debt. Here’s an overview for what you need to know.

What is FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is like a ticket to federal money and scholarships to help pay for college. Filling out and submitting the form serves as an application for federal grants, loans and work-study funds to financially support your student’s college education.

FAFSA is also a requirement for many colleges. Colleges may use it to help determine students who are eligible to receive financial aid packages based on need or merit. For example, at Grand Canyon University, information contained in the FAFSA helps determine eligibility for institutional scholarships and grants, including financial aid. (Reminder, enter GCU’s school code “001074” on the FAFSA.)

Why is FAFSA Important?

Student debt averages near $30,000 per student, which can be a major financial setback for a graduate entering adult life and seeking an entry-level job. Completing this government form is an opportunity to help streamline the college financial aid process, qualify for assistance and reduce the burden of student loan debt post-graduation.

Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, FAFSA provides more than $150 billion in student aid annually. Can your student afford to be excluded from this group of recipients?

Who Qualifies for FAFSA?

Your student must be a U.S. citizen and have a high school diploma or GED. You can estimate the amount of financial aid your student may be eligible for by taking the cost of your school’s attendance for your student and subtracting your expected family contribution (EFC) (determined by FAFSA). The total is the amount of financial aid your student needs and may receive.

Remember, your FAFSA-calculated EFC amount may not be exactly what your family has to pay for college. Colleges use different calculations to determine financial aid. The amount needed to pay may be less, and amount needed isn’t guaranteed to be provided.

Why Should You Fill Out FAFSA?

Many students don’t bother to fill out FAFSA because it’s more than 100 questions; it’s a time-consuming and complex process to complete. Other students avoid FAFSA because they believe their parents make too much money or they won’t quality because of academic performance. Federal Student Aid encourages all students to apply to FAFSA. Check out these common misconceptions about financial aid.

Remember, most universities require a FAFSA form on file in order to award a student either need-based or merit-based financial aid. Your student may quality to receive financial aid that’s based strictly on merit, such as academic achievement, ACT/SAT scores and athletics (not financial need). But you must complete the FAFSA form.

Time Money’s College Planner also offers this financial tip for families: “filing a FAFSA automatically qualifies you for low-cost federal student loans of at least $5,500 a year.”

What are the FAFSA Changes for 2016?

In September 2015, President Obama instated the following significant changes to FAFSA:

  • Early FAFSA Submission: Starting in 2016 for the 2017-18 academic year, students may submit a FAFSA form as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1. Students still have to submit the FAFSA starting Jan. 1 for the 2016-17 academic year.
  • Earlier Income Information: Applicants will report income information from an earlier tax year, beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA. For the 2017-18 FAFSA, report 2015 tax information, instead of 2016 tax information.

See the Federal Student Aid’s announcement “FAFSA Changes for 2017–18” for a summary of key dates and fact sheets for students and the general public.

Quick FAFSA Tips

  • Visit FAFSA: Applying for Aid at the Federal of Student Aid for when and how to apply to FAFSA, including important deadlines and other details about the process.
  • Use the FAFSA4castor calculator on the Department of Education website to find an estimate of your financial aid.
  • Pay attention to “which assets are countable.” Your student could lose money by incorrectly including assets that should be uncounted.
  • File online for a faster and easier process.
  • The priority processing deadline for the FAFSA for the 2016-17 academic year is June 30, 2017. The first day you are able to apply is Jan. 1, 2016. The earlier you file, the more options for aid are available to your student. Keep in mind, certain states dispense funds to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until money runs out.
  • Refer to this comprehensive guide to college financial aid by Forbes for further insights, tips and a clear understanding of the college financial aid system.

Soon-to-be College Parents: 6 Tips for Guiding Your Student

As the temps cool down and leaves change colors, seniors settle into their fourth and final year of high school. It’s your student’s turn to be upperclassmen and enjoy senior year fall festivities like football games and the homecoming dance.

Yet, a question prevails, “what will I do after high school graduation?” Typically, thoughts of post-graduation uncertainty can trump any excitement of the future, especially for seniors who choose to pursue the college route. Applying to college is an arduous process, and procrastination can be unavoidable.

The Stir by CafeMom shares how Jeannie Borin, president and founder of College Connections, LLC, advocates that parents keep their distance during the college application process. Borin said parents should have healthy involvement in the college application process, but not be overbearing. Provide guidance, but maintain distance.

The following do’s and don’ts can help your family navigate the college application process while still fostering a sense of independence within your future college student.

DO use Tuition Tracker, a tool designed to show what students will really pay for college based on family income. Many high-achieving, lower-income students turn away from pursuing a particular institution—or even higher education altogether—because of a school’s initial sticker price. Use this tool with your student to determine discounts, financial aid and tax credits that may reduce the average cost of tuition for a desirable college.

DON’T make your child’s college experience your college experience. Let your child explore hopes and dreams without too much input based on any of your past regrets, unaccomplished goals or personal experiences. From filling out an application and writing the essay to checking on admissions statuses and making a final decision, this experience belongs to your child.

DO keep a hands-off approach as your child fills out applications and writes application essays. Even if you sit beside your child for hours as support and to ensure it’s complete, your student should take ownership for finishing the application. Feel free to review the application and written essay before submitting, but the work should be entirely theirs.

DON’T involve outsiders. Create a supportive environment where your child can explore the college discovery process without comparisons made to friends or teens of other parents. Remember, this is your student’s unique journey. Turn a deaf ear to the GPAs, SAT/ACT scores and college admissions of other seniors. It’s a private matter. Openly discussing application letters and test scores outside the family can create discouragement and insecurity.

DO encourage your student to research and visit a variety of diverse schools and campuses to help ensure the right selections. What’s most important to your child in a college? Is it academic programs, student life, campus location, spirituality? These variables can help guide your student toward the most suitable college experience. Cost is usually the primary factor driving a decision; collaborate with your child while researching financial aid options, seeking scholarship opportunities and completing the FAFSA form.

DON’T create negativity around the process inundated with “DID YOU DO’S?” and other negative micromanagement approaches like yelling, nagging, comparing, pleading and punishing. If both parents are involved, don’t overwhelm your child with check-ups and snide reminders from both sides. Deadlines are important, which is why Liz Willen, editor of The Hechinger Report, recommends staying on target together through an email relationship, shared calendars or a whiteboard/chalkboard.

For more information on college preparation, follow this month-by-month guide by The Stir.


Spotlight Program: Theology Minor Programs

The College of Theology at Grand Canyon University serves the evangelical community and reaches a broad interdenominational community of likeminded Christian congregations and organizations. The College of Theology celebrates our unity in Jesus Christ grounded in biblical truth. The college welcomes students who stand firm on the trustworthy Word of God and embrace the denominational diversity that characterizes the GCU community.

At GCU, theological training cultivates strong Christian character and is based upon the college’s three pillars of being gospel centered, church focused and mission oriented. Students can pursue their calling in Christian ministry and service in a learning environment that fosters growth in knowledge and wisdom, character development, unity in Christ and love for one another.

The College of Theology offers theology minor programs for students who want to deepen their biblical, theological and spiritual understanding. In conjunction with a degree program, the following three minors provide students with a well-rounded education.

Christian Studies Minor

Students gain ethical knowledge while exploring the virtues and habits that shape Christian character and morality. The Christian Studies minor complements foundational teachings introduced in Christian Worldview. Students engage in basic biblical and theological understandings with an emphasis on discipline and character development.

Biblical Studies Minor

While earning this minor, students learn basic knowledge of the Bible and the ability to effectively interpret scripture. This minor is for students who want to understand the Bible more fully and faithfully. Coursework surveys the Bible, introduces principles and practices for sound interpretation and applies interpretive skills to major divisions of the Bible.

Worship Arts Minor

Students pursuing this minor develop a biblical theology of worship and explore historical and contemporary approaches to worship. In preparation to serve in a worship leadership role, students learn character and leadership skills for a faithful, fruitful worship ministry. This minor enables students to serve within the church and other Christian worship environments.


Opportunities to Gain Valuable Leadership Experience as a Student at GCU

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

At Grand Canyon University, students can achieve more than just a diploma for making a living after graduation. GCU provides opportunities to not only help students find their purpose and land the career of their dreams, but opportunities for students to lead and serve as well. Developing future, passionate leaders who enrich the world with spirit, hope and achievement starts right here on the GCU campus.

Students have numerous opportunities to pursue a role in leadership beyond the classroom at GCU. From representing students as part of the student government to serving abroad for those in need, Lopes can make a difference.

Explore the following opportunities to take an active role in the university community and become a leader for today and tomorrow.


The Associated Students of Grand Canyon University represents and serves the student body in pursuit of academic success, personal excellence and spirituality. ASGCU strives to reach each student in a meaningful way, build a community and connect students to the campus through programs, events, service and outreach.


The Canyon Activities Board, part of Student Engagement, plans university events and activities to help students get involved, make new friends and get to know the GCU campus community. Student events include Fall Festival, a lip synch contest, movie on the lawn, commuter lunches and more!


The GCU HAVOCS lead the university in school spirit and pride. The mission of the HAVOCS is to be the most spirited, energetic and “destructive” student section in the Western Athletic Conference. HAVOCS support all GCU athletic teams and energize Lopes fans while creating an electrifying environment of positive sportsmanship and respect.

Service and Local Community Outreach

GCU students can make an impact beyond campus by serving the local community. GCU’s unique partnership with Habitat for Humanity offers the opportunity for students to build homes, repair houses and help revitalize surrounding neighborhoods. Students can also get involved with the community through local outreach efforts like Canyon Kids and Serve the City, as well as Community Outreach Programs such as The Run to Fight Children’s Cancer.

International Mission Trips

GCU’s outreach initiatives even extend overseas with GO. GO (Global Outreach) mobilizes the university to become globally minded and ignite a passion to make a lifetime impact on disciples of all nations. International mission trips to countries like Peru and Indonesia provide opportunities to minister, partner with churches and teach students. Students who can’t travel abroad can still make a global impact through opportunities like GO Nights, Global Connect, Global Tour, Global Training Project, Refugee Ministry and more!

GCU Learning Lounge

The GCU Learning Lounge offers extra assistance to high school and current GCU students who need help in tough subjects and their most challenging classes. Students can serve as LEADS (Learning Advocates) who provide one-on-one sessions and small study groups. LEADS are college scholars who receive specialized training to assist students seeking to experience the learn and excel academically.

Life Leader

Life Leaders serve as spiritual leaders on campus who engage in relational ministry and teach the Bible to the GCU community. Life Leaders lead Life Groups, which are small groups in every living area that build community and help students form relationships and grow spiritually. Life Leaders are available for prayer, spiritual counseling, support and one-on-one mentoring.

Resident Assistant (RA)

Students can play an integral role in the student experience on campus as a resident assistant student leader. As part of Residence Life, RAs are assigned to a residence hall or apartment building of about 30 to 70 students and have the primary responsibility to build community in their area. RAs build relationships with residents, support residents, plan events and take care of everyday housing issues.

Honors College

The Honors College provides opportunities for high-achieving students to engage in experiential learning related to service and leadership. Honors students can participate in extra-curricular activities, exclusive events and an honors organization. The Honors College personalizes the academic experience and challenges students to become servant leaders and change agents of tomorrow.

Discover other opportunities for getting involved on campus with more information on GCU clubs and organizations and student leadership.


Understanding How to Evaluate and Compare Institutional Scholarship Offers

The value of an education is immeasurable, but the cost of college is steep.

Between academic years 2007-08 and 2012-13, the percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year, degree-granting institution receiving any financial aid increased from 80 to 85 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The percentage of students receiving aid at four-year, private, for-profit institutions grew from 76 percent in 2007-08 to 89 percent in 2012-13.

For the majority of students, accepting financial aid is an essential stepping stone toward earning a college degree. Scholarship and grant opportunities in particular can help ease the burden of college costs and make higher education more affordable.

If your student is deciding among different college opportunities and financial aid offers, congratulations on his or her acceptance! Factors such as location, campus culture, school size and academic programs serve as considerations during the decision-making process, but financial aid typically prevails.

Use this guide to help evaluate and compare financial aid and scholarship offers.

Types of Financial Aid

The three main types of financial aid are loans that require repayment, work-study programs and scholarships and grants. Scholarships and grants provide the most impactful financial opportunity; scholarships and grant are given to your student based on academic merit, athletic achievement, minority status, financial need or field of study, for example. These types of financial aid are awarded to your student and aren’t required to be paid back.

Financial Baselines

First, determine the cost of attendance to use as the foremost guiding factor while evaluating financial aid. The cost of attendance includes the estimated cost of tuition and fees, room and board, coursework materials and extra college living expenses, according to

Next, determine your expected family contribution and unmet need for each college. The expected family contribution is the amount your student expects to pay (typically based on your student’s financial aid application, FAFSA or CSS Profile). Your unmet need is the amount needed to pay to meet average annual costs.

The cost of attendance and the estimated amount your family will contribute and is responsible for can help guide which college opportunity is most financially beneficial.

Evaluating Scholarship Offers

The award letter will itemize each financial component, including the cost of attendance, expected family contribution, unmet need and institutional scholarships. Mindful of these financial components, help your student assess scholarship offers by listing each scholarship and name according to amount and conditions for acceptance.

Acknowledge the following details as you and your student evaluate each award:

  • Duration of scholarship
  • Minimum GPA or other academic or course requirements
  • Sport or activity requirements
  • Conditions (for example, is it a high-value annual scholarship with extensive conditions for renewal? Or is it a scholarship with a smaller annual amount but is easily renewable?)
  • Rules in regard to other financial aid your student receives (for example, if the scholarship or grant amount exceeds the amount of financial need, the awards will be reduced)

Evaluating Financial Aid

GoCollege also offers these tips to help make the best decision while evaluating your overall available financial aid:

  • Value scholarships and grant opportunities the most; these never have to be repaid
  • Try to acquire subsidized Federal loans; unlike unsubsidized loans, subsidized loans are more affordable because your student won’t have to pay for interest accrued during college
  • Aim to minimize your unmet need amount, which can mean choosing the school that may not be a top choice, but is more affordable
  • Compare short-term and long-term costs (for example, a loan that covers all costs upfront may cost more down the road, rather than a school offering scholarships or grants that may still leave an unmet need)

Scholarships at Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University recognizes the rising costs of attending college and believes in making a valuable higher education an attainable opportunity.

GCU strives to make a private, Christian education affordable for all of our students. GCU offers generous academic scholarship and grant opportunities and has kept tuition frozen with no increases since 2009. The average student pays approximately $7,800 per year* in tuition after institutional scholarships and grants. Plus, our room and board prices are well below the national average, starting at just $6,050 per year.**

Visit to learn more about full-time, on-campus and outside scholarship opportunities to financially supplement an education at Grand Canyon University. The University Financial Aid Office awards scholarships to support educational goals of students based on factors like academic merit, fine arts, leadership and early decision. Scholarships may also increase based on academic performance at GCU.

Information as of Fall 2014

* Average tuition after scholarships is approximately $7,800. Scholarships may be awarded based on incomplete transcripts. At the time in which final, official transcripts are received, GCU reserves the right to rescind or modify the scholarship if it is determined that eligibility was not achieved. To be eligible, students must meet scholarship requirements and be fully admissible to the university. GCU reserves the right to decline scholarship awards for any reason. If a student does not meet the minimum renewal criteria, their scholarship will be forfeited. GCU reserves the right to change scholarship awards at any time without notice. If a student does not meet the minimum renewal criteria, their scholarship will be forfeited. Prices based on 2014-15 rate and are subject to change.

**Housing and meal plan rate includes triple occupancy, suite-style residence hall and $1,350 Dining Dollars, plus applicable sales tax as required by state law. Prices reflect 2015-16 and are subject to change.



High School Juniors and Seniors: Advantages of Early Commitment and Registration at GCU

The transition from high school to college can be an overwhelming experience, which is why Grand Canyon University encourages high school students to start applying to colleges early.

GCU makes the college application process easy and beneficial by providing high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to enroll in GCU with an early decision and even lock in a scholarship.

Not only does an early commitment to GCU enable a future Lope to enjoy the remainder of their high school experiences without the stress of college visits and applications, they can take advantage of the following available benefits exclusive to GCU.

Scholarships: High school seniors can secure the GCU scholarship program for the following academic year by registering early. The academic scholarship program awards aid for academic merit, priority registration and enrollment in a computer science, information technology or engineering degree program. Students who attend a private Christian high school in a partnership with GCU may be able to receive an annual scholarship as well.

Learn more by visiting

Stay Ahead of Peers: High school students who apply and submit their transcripts early have the opportunity to participate in the GCU debt-prevention plan and register for housing and classes early. Students can reserve their favorite residence hall, register their top course choices and arrange their ideal schedule.

Lope Life: Students who enroll in GCU early officially become Lopes. Students receive an official GCU student I.D. and are invited to exclusive GCU events where we can welcome you to Lope Life!

Additional Advantages: The most fun part of submitting your application and transcripts early is previewing college life at GCU for free at Discover GCU. Students do not have to be registered at GCU to attend, but they must be admissible, so the earlier you apply, the sooner you can attend. Get the REAL college experience at Discover GCU – a free overnight event where high school students meet future Lopes and current students, move into a suite-style residence hall, tour campus and engage in all that GCU has to offer, from campus dining to athletic events.

Visit for more information.

Visit to request more information and apply today!


The Cost of College: How to Help Finance Higher Education

The value of a college education is immeasurable. A college education serves as a lifetime investment providing a college student with lifelong memories, a wide range of learning experiences and a degree that increases his or her marketability within the job market.

Families understand how essential higher education is for creating a greater quality of life (from establishing a career to increasing earning potential). But the cost to attend college is steep, and fewer parents can afford to help pay for an education.

If you’re concerned about how to help your child afford a quality college education, you’re not alone. Use the following guide to help the decision-making process as your family faces the high price of attending college:

Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial aid can help lessen the burden of paying for college, but qualifying for it can be complicated and difficult to obtain. Keep in mind these strategies for maximizing your student’s financial aid eligibility:

  • Save money and put assets in the parent’s name, not the child’s name.
  • Pay off consumer debt, including high credit card balances and car loans.
  • Reduce income, avoiding artificial increases in income.
  • Don’t overestimate your income on FAFSA. Report adjusted gross income, rather than gross income.
  • Avoid taking money out of a retirement fund to help pay for college and make larger contributions to retirement funds (to reduce income).
  • File as soon as possible after Jan. 1.
  • Be mindful of selling assets and capital gains, which can increase income and decrease eligibility.

Loan and Grant Options defines an education loan as a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Loans are categorized in three major categories: (1) student loans (Stafford and Perkins loans), (2) parent loans (PLUS loans) and private student loans (or alternative student loans). Grants, such as state grants and the TEACH grant, can also help reduce college expenses and don’t need to be repaid.

  • Subsidized Stafford Loan: Interest doesn’t accrue while the student’s in school. Also, maximums rise the longer a dependent student stays in school.
  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loan: This loan is available to any student, regardless of need. Yet, interest accrues while the student’s in school.
  • Federal Perkins Loan: This type of loan is made directly to students without a co-signature by a parent. Students can wait nine months after graduation to start repayment and have 10 years to repay the loan.
  • PLUS Loan: As a non-need-based loan, this type of loan is made to parents, rather than students. Credit history determines loan eligibility. The repayment period can extend up to 10 years and the interest rate is typically fixed.
  • Private Loan: Private loans include bank lines of credit, home-equity loans and Signature Student loans. Keep in mind, repayment typically starts immediately. Try to exhaust federal student loan eligibility first because federal loans are less expensive and offer better terms.
  • Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is awarded primarily to low-income families.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: Administered by colleges, this needs-based grant awards up for $4,000 per year. Recipients may also have to participate in the federal work-study program.


Like grants, scholarships are a type of student financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. Scholarships are generally awarded based on special academic, athletic or artistic qualifications. Scholarships may also be awarded to students interested in studying a particular subject matter, minority students, students who are part of an underrepresented group or students who live in a low-income area.

GCU Scholarship Opportunities

Grand Canyon University recognizes the fiscal challenge of financing college and strives to make a quality education affordable for all families. GCU offers various generous scholarship opportunities that can significantly reduce tuition rates. High school students can also help fund college with, an online platform where high school students can earn micro-scholarships for individual achievements. Students can achieve goals to earn these micro-scholarships and track earnings on a live homepage feed. Go to to create a portfolio and start following GCU today!

Visit Tuition and Financing on to learn more about financial aid.

Also, explore extensive 2015-16 scholarship opportunities at Grand Canyon University, as well as outside scholarship opportunities.


Additional resources for more information:


Seniors: What You Need to Know About the ACT and SAT

If you’re excited to apply to college (Lopes Up!), you’ll have to meet certain requirements, such as meeting a minimum ACT or SAT score.

The ACT is a national college admissions exam that tests students in English, math, reading and science. The SAT is a globally recognized college admissions exam designed to test students on how well they can apply knowledge of reading, writing and math. ACT and SAT scores are typically combined with high school performance (GPA) to evaluate students and determine admission decisions.

Although both tests serve as college admissions predictors, each test measures distinct constructs, according to


The ACT tests high school students on achievement related to high school curricula, whereas the SAT tests students on general verbal and quantitative reasoning, explains

The Princeton Review Assessment (PRA) identifies the following seven differences:

  1. ACT questions tend to be easier to understand. Understanding the SAT question, before even starting to solve the problem, can be time consuming.
  2. The SAT emphasizes vocabulary more heavily.
  3. The ACT includes a science section that tests reading and reasoning skills upon given a set of facts. The SAT does not include a science section.
  4. The ACT writing test is optional and not included in the composite score. The SAT essay is required. (Keep in mind, many schools require a writing score with the ACT score.)
  5. The ACT math section tests more advanced math concepts and includes trigonometry.
  6. The SAT is broken down into 10 sections, whereas with the ACT, you tackle one content area entirely.
  7. College admissions typically focus more on performance of specific sections of the SAT. Conversely, college admissions look at the overall ACT composite score.



Register online by visiting The ACT also offers information on test dates, fees, test centers, test prep, scores and more. Visit The ACT to create an account and start the registration process.


Visit the SAT website to register for the exam. By registering online, you’ll choose a test date and test center. You’ll receive immediate registration confirmation, as well as 24-hour registration access to print or correct your admission ticket. In addition to registration, SAT also offers practice and scoring information.

Students can also register for both tests by mail. For the ACT, students who are younger than age 13 or cannot pay by credit card must register by mail.

Juniors and seniors can take the ACT and SAT. Most students take the exam during junior year and can retake the exam during fall of senior year to raise their score.

Grand Canyon University Requirements

If you’re applying to be a full-time student at the GCU campus, you have to submit official high school transcripts with a cumulative, unweighted grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above.

Submitting ACT or SAT scores is a second option for admission eligibility. Students must meet the following:

  • ACT: 19 (GCU reporting code 0092)
  • SAT: 920, including math and reading scores only (GCU reporting code 4331)

ACT and SAT scores may also be help determine academic merit award consideration.

For more information, visit and click on Admission Requirements.

Honors College Eligibility

Incoming freshmen applying for the Honors College at Grand Canyon University must also meet the following standardized testing requirements to be honors-eligible (in addition to a 3.8 weighted or unweighted GPA):

  • 27 composite ACT score OR
  • 1200 math and verbal SAT score

Visit to learn more.

Additional resources for more information:


Summer Checklist for Soon-to-Be Seniors

Attention Class of 2016:

Lope by pool_150Your senior year is finally here (well, almost)! Your junior year was likely spent working hard to keep up your GPA and participating in extracurriculars. The work doesn’t end here, but you’re definitely in the home stretch. College applications are right around the corner and there’s no time like the present to start thinking about where you’d like to be when next summer rolls around.

To help steady the course, Grand Canyon University has compiled a summer checklist for soon-to-be seniors. Consider this the first pit stop in a road map to college (and beyond).


Sign up to take the SAT and/or ACT as soon as possible. Taking them now will give you enough time to retake the exams in the fall if you want to shoot for a higher score. Many colleges, including GCU, consider college aptitude scores when awarding scholarships.

  • GCU Reporting CodesCampus Tour_150
  1. ACT: 0092
  2. SAT: 4331


Start by making a list of all the college campuses you’d like to visit. These should be schools you’ve already researched in detail.  Whittle that list down to four or five top choices and try to coordinate visits this summer. Depending on geography, time and funds, you may be able to hit several schools in one trip.

Campus visits are a tremendous help when deciding which school is right for you. By being on campus, you’ll be able to really “see yourself” there next year–or not.


If you do not have one already, consider applying for a part-time job. It’s a good idea to start saving money now in order to ease the transition to college. Plus, employment is a fantastic resume boost and proves your responsibility and independence to college admissions teams.

Speaking of building your resume, think about taking a summer course at a local college or university. In addition to looking like you’re serious about your future, you’ll likely be able to get college credit for each course you take.

  • GCU offers dual enrollment to students wishing to get a head start on their college degree.


Narrow down your top picks and organize all the application deadlines and requirements. Put them on the calendar (in ink!) so you won’t miss a deadline.

In the meantime, start researching scholarship opportunities. While schools may offer you institutional scholarships, there are literally thousands of outside or private scholarship opportunities also open to you. Start searching online for scholarships you qualify for and apply—it might just pay off big time.

For more information about Grand Canyon University or to apply, contact an admissions representative at 800-800-9776 or